MEET THE DEVELOPER: Q&A with Jonathan Goldstein
Having had a successful law career, did you always know you wanted to work in property?
I got my first taste of the real estate world while working for the law firm Olswang LLP, when we developed our headquarters as a joint venture with Minerva. When I ran the law firm I had two major specialties: media and property, and when the time came to try something different I was always going to choose one or the other. Ultimately property was something I gravitated towards and when I was given the opportunity to work with Gerald Ronson at Heron International I took it.
What do you enjoy most about your business?
I love the fact that no two days are the same, and that I have the opportunity to work with many different people – both colleagues and partners – in the UK, the US, in various European countries and beyond. Each and every one of them brings something unique to the table and provides a fresh perspective. I’ve been able to build a firm that reflects my own values and I love the drive that comes from interacting with people and learning from them on a day-to-day basis.
How is developing overseas different to in London? Does it present different challenges?
Every territory is different, which is why it’s so important to have a local partner who understands the local environment, relationships and issues. And while many of the macro issues remain the same – for example the economics – it’s extremely important to understand the intricacies of the region, which comes back to the idea of partnerships. Having the right partner at the right time in the right situation is crucial when it comes to maximising opportunities and being the best in our field.
In today’s service-driven residential industry, which features add the most value to a development?
Ultimately the range of amenities both in your apartment and within the wider development are so much more important now than they were 20 or 30 years ago, with the whole package of serviced and leisure-related services forming a fundamental part of any development. We’ve seen that with the work we did with Sorores on Six Senses Residences Courchevel; it’s not just about providing a chalet, it’s about providing the whole concierge service, including a wonderful spa, a premium gym and in-room catering.
Where do you find inspiration?
I think the most important thing is to learn from others; watch what people are doing and identify which ideas you can follow and which you can’t. I am also inspired by travel – I’ve just returned from a trip to Rio de Janeiro and the Galapagos Islands and was inspired both by the nature and the developments there.
Sustainability has been a hot topic in property in recent years, what do you see as the next major trends in the property development market?
I believe the issue of sustainability will continue to play a major role; at the rate that the world is changing, new developments are emerging all the time and the use of natural resources and energy is crucial to ensure we don’t ruin the world we’ve inherited.
You worked with Six Senses on the Residences in Courchevel, a group of properties with wellness at their core. What does wellness mean to you?
It means trying to create a balance in my life. This comes from taking the time to eat well, exercise and look after myself, and as I get older this gets more and more important. The spa at the Six Senses Residences Courchevel is the perfect place for me to achieve this balance, with its combination of the slopes and brilliant therapists, but it’s just as important to maintain it back here in London.
Where is your favourite place to travel to and why?
For my wife and I there is only one answer: Six Senses Residences Courchevel. Cain International developed the project with Galliard Homes and we’re lucky enough as a family to own an apartment there. The time we spend as a family in the mountains is precious, with its magical mix of wonderful views, great skiing, delicious food and superb spa. We don’t go out in the evening and prefer to spend our time watching movies and playing games.
What’s been the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
The mantra that has been in my head for decades is about maximising my potential and understanding that what you’ve done yesterday is irrelevant; it’s what you do tomorrow which is most important. Also important is being open and honest with people, treating everyone equally and accepting that everyone is entitled to an opinion. My favourite line is a quote from Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, when Atticus Finch tells his children: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
What do you do to relax?
Exercise, specifically running. I’ve run a lot of marathons and half-marathons and find it is the best way to gain clarity of mind.
Can you sum up your experience working with Sorores in 3 words?
Creativity; commitment; integrity.